Friday, February 28, 2014

Seventeen by Mark D. Diehl


My take on critique groups

If you’ve never done so, then you must at least once participate in a writing group, whether you do it as part of an academic program or find one in your community.

Yeah, yeah. They’re all going to be idiots. Your work will soar so high above them that all they’ll be able to do is blink at it and drool. If anything, they’ll screw it all up, squash the true genius they fail to see.

Okay, fine. Say all that’s true. Do it anyway.
You need to see your book through another reader’s eyes. Honest critiques can be brutal and horrible, but they make you learn how to create better images inside someone else’s head. You’re not a writer until you’ve had your brains repeatedly bashed out by an honest critique group, or at least an honest editor.


Mark Diehl

Most of the world's seventeen billion people are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, and corporations control all of the world's resources and governments. A bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet predicts nineteen year-old waitress Eadie will lead a revolution, but how can she prevail when hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it directs?

The old man wrung his hands, looking Hawkins up and down. Hawkins scrolled through some text and found the name again: Stuckey. Another gee-whiz dimwit citizen, eager to please. Stuckey’s eyes went back up, from Hawkins’s acid-resistant all-traction black shoes, to his flexible, abrasion-proof gray uniform – cut in the old-fashioned suit style with lapels – to his perfectly Gold complexion and salt-and-pepper, closely-trimmed hair. 
“Never had a Federal Angel in my place before,” Stuckey said, though Hawkins barely heard him.  The Agent was closely observing the movements of a young, redheaded waitress setting plates on a table. As she leaned over, the girl kept her knees pressed tightly together, as her panties were clearly exposed with every bend of her waist. “I wish I could help you more; dropped that danged computer in a pot of soup when it was all going on – corporate’ll be furious, of course, but you’ve gotta tell ‘em so you can get the information you need. I hope my blunder doesn’t slow down your case, though. God’s will, right? God to the President to you, the Federal Angels. Geez. I never thought I’d actually meet one of you.”


Mark D. Diehl writes novels about power dynamics and the way people and organizations influence each other. He believes that obedience and conformity are becoming humanity’s most important survival skills, and that we are thus evolving into a corporate species.

Diehl has: been homeless in Japan, practiced law with a major multinational firm in Chicago, studied in Singapore, fled South Korea as a fugitive, and been stranded in Hong Kong. 
After spending most of his youth running around with hoods and thugs, he eventually earned his doctorate in law at the University of Iowa and did graduate work in creative writing at the University of Chicago. He currently lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Author’s Website:

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